If you are looking for outdoor festoon lights, you will likely have come across two technical terms — IP44 and IP65. But do you know what these ratings mean? More importantly, do you know why you should only purchase festoon lights with an IP rating of 44 or higher if you plan to use it outdoors?
If not, this post is just for you. Buying a sub-standard festoon light can increase the chance of fire, arc faults, power surges, and other severe consequences. That is why it is important to understand what IP rating is and the difference between IP44 and IP65.
IP Rating in a Nutshell
An IP rating, simply put, is a numerical value that is assigned to an electrical device, such as string lights, to indicate how resistant it is to water and solids.
IP rated products are safe to use, and the higher the value of the IP code, the greater the level of protection the device in question has.
IP rating is made up of two numbers (e.g. IP44 or IP65). The first numerical value in the IP code indicates the level of a device’s resistance to solids. This numerical value ranges from 0 to 6.
The second numerical value in the IP code indicates how resistant an electrical device is to liquids. It ranges from 0 to 9, with a rating 0 meaning no protection.
If an electrical product is resistant only to solids and not liquids, the second numerical value will be 0. For instance, if an electrical device has an IP20 rating, it means it received a ‘2’ rating for its resistance against solids and a ‘0’ rating for resistance against liquids (meaning the product is not waterproof at all).
What does the IP44 rating means?
If an electrical product has an IP44 rating, it means it is protected against most solid objects and can easily withstand water splashes or light rain.
A festoon light with an IP44 rating is approved for outdoor use in Australia.
What does the IP65 rating means?
If an electrical product has an IP44 rating, it means it is protected against most solid objects and can easily withstand direct jets of water splashes or heavy rain. But IP65 rated products cannot withstand complete submersion in water.
A festoon light with an IP65 rating is approved for outdoor use in Australia.
IP44 Festoon Lights vs. IP65 Festoon Lights
Both IP44 and IP65 string lights are approved for outdoor use in Australia. They have similar levels of resistance to solid particles. However, IP65 has better waterproofing protection than IP44.
So, which of these you should use? You can use either IP65 or IP44 for lighting a covered patio or porch. But if you want to use festoon lights in an area exposed to the elements, IP65 festoon lights are a better fit (although you can still use IP44 festoon lights).
Also check whether the cable is 1.5mm rubber. If it is made of PVC or if the thickness is less than 1.5mm, the lights do not meet the SAA requirements to be used outdoors. Always use genuine SAA certified festoon lights because non-SAA products are of low-quality and using them can put you and your family at risk.